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Welcome to delicious Destinations, a GourmetStation blog. Through the charater of T.Alexander and occasional real-life guests, our aim is to share with you light-hearted fun ideas about food, gift giving, entertaining and culture. At the same time we would love you hear from you. Please share your experiences from home or abroad.

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Thanksgiving Dinner Delivered From GourmetStation


Posted: October 29, 2008
by: T.Alexander

Some things are best left alone and that's why we have tradition. This is our 5th year to offer a Thanksgiving Dinner Delivered and except for a little change here and there, it remains unchanged, loved and ordered repeatedly. If we sound proud it is because we are. This year's menu looks like this:

Sourdough Boule For Two

Butternut Squash Soup (Two 12 oz. servings)

Smoked Turkey Breast, Sage Dressing, Gravy (2.5 Lb. Turkey Breast)

Sweet Potato Casserole and Cranbery Relish

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Pecans (2 Slices)

Coffee Packet

4 Complimentary Gifts: Thanksgiving Prayer, Fall Leaf Floating Candle, Extra Dessert, Organic Tea

The Thanksgiving Dinner Delivery is priced at $89.99 and don't forget to enter the code for 50% off 2nd day shipping. Early reservations are appreciated but we will be taking orders until November 26th. For Thanksgiving Dinner Gifts and other exquisite Food Gifts visit www.GourmetStation.com.

Thanksgiving Table With turkey

Mountains From Coast to Coast


Posted: October 27, 2008
by: Mark Stine

This past Labor Day, pre and post, I had the good fortune to visit my place in Banner Elk, NC…a beautiful, peaceful place where I often end up being just plain lazy. Resting reading… and as happened this trip, watching a CSI Las Vegas marathon. You may remember Banner Elk from last year’s blog. This portion of the trip was pre Labor Day…..post Labor day I ended up in Reno visiting ski buddy and environmentalist, of the Sierra Club variety, Dave Hornbeck.

Reno is a small easily managed town….high desert surrounded by mountains with Lake Tahoe within easy striking range. Dave is lifelong resident, stints hopping around the globe not withstanding. The first day after my arrival, we did a walking tour from his close in suburban styled home to downtown Reno. Situated along a scenic river…Reno, while hosting gaming like Las Vegas, was actually a real city before gaming ever came along, with lots of local flavor and history.

One of the spots we stopped in for local flavor and refreshment was a Basque Bar/restaurant. Basque influence abounds around town and in many of the surrounding mountain community areas.

 BasqueDinnersign

The bar was empty save for one individual, who Dave finally recognized as an old acquaintance. We were greeted with a smile by Erika, the bartender. Dave ordered us something called Picon Punch. I heard it as Pecan Punch…having lived in the south for so long…I thought Picon was just a peculiar local dialect for Pecan. Wrong!!

 

Picon Punch

Grenadine

* Torani Amer / Picon Amer  (American and French versions of the liqueur)

Club Soda

Brandy

Lemon twist

Picondrinks

So try one and enjoy!

from www.wineglobe.com

* Torani Amer is a liqueur made in a similar style to Amer Picon, a French aperitif with notes of bitter orange, cinchona bark and gentian. It's almost impossible to find Amer Picon -- a key ingredient in the Basque cocktail Picon Punch -- in the States these days, but fortunately the South San Francisco-based Torani syrup company has filled the cocktail gap with this version. This is a very sophisticated liqueur, and probably not to everyone's taste, but people who enjoy Italian bitters such as Fratelli Averna will likely love Torani Amer, and some folk who usually shun such products might just enjoy it in the Hoskins Cocktail.

Esquire magazine had a recent article coincidentally on Basque food. “Traditional Basque food specializes in its mastery of sweet and hot peppers, salt cod, anchovies and fish and shellfish from the Bay of Biscany”

The bar adjoined a family style Basque restaurant, with checkered green table clothes

BasqueDiningHall

 

and a lively history in its long term location, provided a wonderful old world ambiance backdrop. As a boost to the potential future of the area, a new minor league baseball stadium was being constructed nearby and should contribute lively crowds and patrons to this area for many years to come.

If you are interested, check out the Santa Fe Hotel, not an operating hotel now, but where the “Family Style Basque Dinners” are served up and worth the price of a tasty Picon Punch too. And when you are there say hello to Erika! She was very informative and friendly and while not Basque…certainly knew her local history.

Erika  

Santa Fe Hotel

235 Lake Street

Reno, NV

775 323 1891

Lots of historic old buildings have been preserved in downtown Reno, so if you have the chance, take a walking tour of town. The old Postal building…art deco vintage is one worth checking out. There are plenty of cafes, bars and restaurants, some fronting on the scenic river, to give you rest spots along the way as you tour.

The next day it was off to the mountains of California. The destination was to an area north of Yosemite. There is a wilderness area north of Yosemite and north of that is a recreational area in the Stanislow National forest. We were headed off to the family cabin  there…a rustic affair dating to 1923 built on National forest land that are maintained through long term leases. On the drive up, the first stop was Levitt Lake.

LevittLakeSparklingwater-sept2008

An alpine lake surrounded by incredible mountain peaks, I would like to have said that I hiked in the four miles to reach it from the main road, but four wheel drive got us there over some rough bumps, even if Dave’s vehicle did take some scratches from some road hugging brush. Great fishing there if you care to give it a try.

The next stop, at a slightly lower altitude was Kennedy Meadows, which to me felt like a step back into 1940’s California. Tall pines….horse corrals… old buildings, barns and the smell of campfires. What was intriguing was the bar area (are we detecting a theme here?) which was spartan in appearance and featured a dance hall area adjacent with old framed photos on the wood lined walls. We were 3 hours from Reno, yet the Basque influence was evident again with shots that looked to be from the 30’s. All you hear about today is Basque Separatists ...but I found nothing but Basque integration going on, in food and drink and warm cultural influences. …this influence came about through Basques arriving from France and Spain to work in the sheep industry moving herds of sheep between grazing areas with their specialized dogs.

 OldBasquephoto  

The real treat though, was rustic camping and hiking at Mill Creek, a campground area. an hour or so drive from Kennedy Meadows …adjacent to the rustic old cabins, some which have been in the same families since the 20’s Localized hikes uphill, (actually up mountain ) revealed spectacular views of the Dardanelle’s a series of three peaks…as well as up close looks at lava flows in an area that was very active 100,000 years ago.

 Cabin-MillCreek

Back at the Hornbeck cabin…after hiking and touring about, I slept on an outdoor sleeping porch. The views at night were incredible with a stunning glow from the milky way, views of ancient red spruce soaring like spires into the night and occasional shooting stars. (more pedestrianly  known as asteroid debris burning up in the atmosphere).

The air even in early September was crisp at night and cold weather sleeping was a welcome respite. However it being bear and cougar country…at every snap crackle and pop all night, it had me snapping to attention! How did the pioneers ever do it?? We won’t talk about the baby bear I swear I saw in the shadow of the flashlight one night around 2 am, munching on the spilled dog food, which actually turned out to be a shadow cast by the Weber grill. Ah yes…something to laugh about in the light of day.

If you ever get up this way, make a point to also stop at the Pine Crest Lake reservoir. Surrounded by cabins of varying vintage, there is a wonderful hiking trail which takes a few hours to circumnavigate the lake and brings you back past a beach area. It all had a distinctly 1950’s “Summer Place” feel to it… a place locked in time….warm ..safe…secure….without all the drama of that old movie.

Eating was also a treat….cooking on vintage stoves and heating devices at the cabin, my host Dave, in addition to being a lawyer, former pilot, Sierra Club hike leader and one man historian was able to pull off some tasty meals…all with some great wine.

 Dinnerinthecabin

This was one of my better Labor Day holiday memories, thanks to my place in the mountains of North Carolina and Dave’s family cabin in the Sierras of California. Two different world views of the mountains, culture and food…and a bear’s shadow too!

GourmetStation – New Certified Angus Steak Dinners Delivered


Posted: October 25, 2008
by: T.Alexander

There is something quite continental about our menus – Parisian, Tuscan, Cajun & Asian Fusion. Wouldn’t you agree? We learned something when we introduced our Americana Menu in 2006. Our patrons love the panache of continental cuisine, but they also love good ole home style USA cuisine. So we were off to the races to develop a Steak Dinner Gift that featured steaks that could either be pan seared or grilled.

Any steak would not do. We successfully introduced Wagyu (Kobe Style) Steak Dinners branded by Australia’s shark, Greg Norman. This new product was launched for Father’s Day 2008 and was extremely successful. We knew that our Steak Dinner Gift program needed to be built around quality and uniqueness. The answer? Certified Angus Beef! Quality and uniqueness were guaranteed and we were also able to offer steaks that boast: “no hormones or antibiotics are ever administered. The animals are raised on a vegetarian diet and the meat is minimally processed with no artificial or added ingredients.”

GourmetStation is now offering six Steak Dinner Gifts, all Certified Angus and all 3 courses including handmade appetizers, side item of whole roasted baby baker potatoes with rosemary, chocolate truffle cheesecake and after dinner coffee by St. Ives. All menus are $79.99 and preparation time is about 30 minutes. We hope you enjoy this line up – we had a blast developing it for you:

· City Slickers Fillet Mignon Steak Dinner
· Delminoco Rib eye Steak Dinner
· Kansas City Strip Steak Dinner
· Baron of Beef Top Sirloin Steak Dinner
· Rustic Flat Iron Steak Dinner
· Wild West T Bone Steak Dinner


To support this Steak Dinner Online program, we developed a Steak of the Month program. All six delicious cuts are available in 3, 6, 9, and 12 month programs ranging in price from $299 to $1099. We’ll put our Steak Dinner program up against the big boys – give it a try – yippee ti yi ey!

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Dinner On Line

Dinner Online

Dinner of the Month

Food Gift Certificates

Meal On Line

Dinner Gift

Meal Online

Meal of the Month

Vivabox Introduces a Fresh Take on Gift Giving


Posted: October 16, 2008
by: T.Alexander

The Ultimate Gift of Choice:
Vivabox Introduces a Fresh Take on Gift Giving

Leading European Gift Company Makes U.S. Debut with First Wave of
Signature Products That Make Traditional Gift Giving Come Alive

Gaithersburg, MD (October 16, 2008) – Have a friend who loves tea, but not sure of his favorite type?  How about a foodie who would enjoy a romantic dinner in, but you don’t know which cuisine she prefers.  Want to choose the best spa for a special someone across the country? Now you can, thanks to vivabox, a fresh new experiential gift which celebrates its official U.S. launch this week. 

The first wave of vivabox products, now available online at www.vivaboxusa.com offers gift givers the ability to give two gifts in one.  Unlike other experiential gifts on the market, vivabox offers its recipients a taste of what they can receive before easily redeeming a corresponding gift card to complete their experience.  And with its expansive network of best-in-class partners and numerous choices for redeeming gifts, vivabox combines the immediate pleasure of a tangible gift with the ability for each recipient to choose what they want, and when they want it.

The first four vivaboxes include a Tea Time box, complete with a preview of specialty teas for the recipient to sample and choose; two Spa boxes with an assortment of natural bath and body products and a gift card redeemable for luxurious spa services; and a Gourmet to Your Door box, which includes cloth napkins, silver plated napkin rings and a gourmet menu from which the recipient can choose a special meal to be delivered to his/her door. The all inclusive boxes range from $50 to $160.

Vivaboxes joined the Sodexo Group – a world leader in Food and Facilities Management – in June 2007. First introduced in Belgium in 2003, the company has enjoyed enormous success throughout Europe with its innovative gift box experiences.  Using its network of established vendors and partners across the country, Sodexo plans to separate vivabox from its competitors with unrivaled product partners and innovative experiences.

Now available for purchase on vivaboxusa.com:

Spa Massage/Facial vivabox OR
Spa Manicure and Pedicure vivabox
From Boston to Seattle and everywhere in between, spa enthusiasts can enjoy a variety of spa services at one of over 4,000 of the top day spas, courtesy of vivabox spa partner, SpaFinder, the global resource in spa information, products and gifts.   With the enclosed selection of natural bath and body products made with organic ingredients by EO® Products, gift recipients can begin the relaxation at home, and then choose to have a standard massage, facial or manicure AND pedicure at the location of his or her choice using their vivabox Spa gift card, also enclosed.  The entire experience, even the tip, is included.

Tea Time vivabox
For the gift recipient that enjoys a soothing respite over a warm cup of tea, vivabox tea offers an extraordinary experience.  With tea partner Numi, tea lovers will enjoy a sampling of seven different flavors of specialty tea – including white rose, monkey king jasmine green and sunset oolong flowering tea - and can then redeem the enclosed gift card for a larger box of their favorite flavor, or other tea time related gifts, including teapots, music and assorted tea boxes.

Gourmet to your Door vivabox
The ultimate fine dining experience- delivered to your door. With partner GourmetStation, a leader in upscale dinner gifts, the recipient of this vivabox will enjoy a three course meal at their home, in the cuisine of their choice; including French Bistro, Mediterranean Feast, New Orleans favorites and many more.  To prepare for the evening, gift recipients will receive two luxury cloth napkins with silver plated napkin rings, and instructions on how to make the perfect napkin fold.

With vivaboxes, Sodexo plans to roll out another round of exclusive gift experiences in the coming weeks, with an even larger list to be unveiled by early next year.  The next round of gift experiences will include a Wine gift box, a Coffee gift box and a BBQ themed gift box, each of which will also feature best-in-class partnerships and creative delivery options. To learn more, or to shop the current collection, visit www.vivaboxusa.com.

Contact: Carrie Fox 301-585-5034
carrie@cfoxcommunications.com

Vivabox_gifts_all_4_2

Dinner of the Month - GourmetStation - Top Pick Holiday Food Gift


Posted: October 10, 2008
by: T.Alexander

It’s hard to believe but we received our first order for a Christmas dinner gift this week. That’s right; for delivery December 24, 2008. Actually I’ve been thinking about our holiday menus and what items we might promote that would represent the best value given the needs of our patrons, the economy, etc. The winner?

GourmetStation’s Dinner of the Month programs. We offer programs for 3 & 4 course Dinner Gifts delivered each month for 3, 6, 9 or 12 months. Just who receives these luxurious Food Gifts? Most of the time the Dinner Club gifts are for seniors and retired parents – people who have lived a wonderful life, received many gifts and find that restaurant quality food at home at this point is a real treat.

The Meal of the Month program also gives GourmetStation employees a chance to really get to know our patrons as they call in monthly to give us their desired menu. Our Meal Club programs offer the option of placing the order online or phoning us at our Atlanta based fulfillment center. What’s different about our Meal Clubs is that we never force ship an order and we never expire a certificate. Our patrons may wish to skip a month because of travel or other obligations and that’s fine. We believe that our Meal of the Month Club offers the most flexibility and most importantly the most delicious cuisine.

We also offer other Food of the Month programs including Soup of the Month and Dessert of the Month for sweet lovers. Bon appetit!

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Meal On Line – GourmetStation – New 5 Day Meal Plan


Posted: October 3, 2008
by: T.Alexander

So what’s new about a 5-Day Meal Plan? Nothing really if you’re looking for diet food. Whether your dietary needs are for health or vanity dieting, there are several excellent companies that will take the guess work out of your need to purchase a Meal On Line. But that’s not what GourmetStation set out to do. We wanted to develop a Gourmet Meal On Line plan that consisted of fine dining at home for 5 days out of the week. No small servings, no lack of richness, no lack of gourmet…..just high quality dining with the convenience of Meals By Mail.

Thanks to our existing patrons for the many orders that came through when we launched the new line last week. Our initial launch consisted of a Create Your Gourmet Meal configuration along with a Most Popular.   Like our popular Meal Gift program, the “Create” configuration allows patrons to select 5 Meals Online from a line up of poultry, seafood, pork, beef and pasta. There are 38 entrees to select from – something for everyone. The Most Popular configuration has pre-selected entrees including Lamb Shank, Beef Marsala, Chicken Saltimboca, Macadamia Mahi Mahi and Three Cheese Tortellini in Alfredo Sauce with sundried tomatoes. Yum.

Again, like our Gourmet Meal Gifts program, these Gourmet Meals Delivered have a 3 days shelf life under refrigeration and may be frozen once without quality loss. So who is purchasing our Meal Plans? A patron in the Northeast who’s Mom lives across the country. This loving daughter wanted her Mom to have good food throughout the week. Another order went to a new Mom who just brought new baby home – now she’ll appreciate the program. And yet another patron sent 5 days of Gourmet Meals to herself – for a treat. Feeling like an indulgence?

5day_mealplan